If You Read ESPN.com, I'd Like to Know

My responsibilities have shifted from working on League Manager, our Fantasy Football engine, to Insider, our paid-content site.

We've got some really stellar content in Insider, and would like your feedback, especially if you visit ESPN.com frequently but are not an Insider.

Specifically, we're wondering about these things:

  • If you are not an Insider, why not? Do we need to do a better job of showing you what Insider offers? Or, is there not enough that has compelled you to buy? What content or tools would be worth it to become an Insider?

  • If you are an Insider, what do you like about it? What would you like to see more of?

I'm basically looking for any thoughts you have on the product. Your feedback will help us shape the product and bring you content and tools that you are interested in.

Please leave your comments here or email me at kareem at reemer dot com.

Thanks!

PS> If you run a sports blog, I would really appreciate it if you could do me a favor and link to this post--I'd like to cast as wide a net as possible. Thanks!

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Comments (Post | Latest)

1. sujal said on Nov 22 2004:

I was an Insider before I came on board at ESPN.com for the simple reason that I played fantasy and liked sitelines and some of the other content way back when... I think some of the Java apps were insider only back then, too (batter vs. pitcher, some others).

2. Ben said on Nov 22 2004:

I'm not an Insider subscriber because A) I don't have a strong sense of what I'm missing out on by not subscribing and B) there are enough free sports sites out there (professional and blogs) that I don't feel the need to pay for content from ESPN. I can't tell you what the cost is but when I've been able to find all I want for free from TSN, CNNSI, Slam!, CBC Sports, Fox/MSN as well as from blogs like Offwing, etc why would I pay for what I perceive to be a limited amount of exclusive content? A free trial might help convince me otherwise but until the NHL is up and running again I doubt it would be worth trying.

3. Andrew said on Nov 23 2004:

Good comments by Ben - What am I missing? Trial memberships are good a la Salon (I think they still do that) model.

Also, at the end of the day I am lazy - I want the EASIEST way of signing up. Name and email and credit card info in one easy step? Done.

Mind you I don't follow sports THAT closely, so I probably wouldn't sign up in the first place.

However, there have been countless times when I have gone to buy something online where I have simply given up because it is too time consuming or convoluted.

Easy is good.

4. Keith said on Nov 23 2004:

I was also an Insider subscriber before I joined ESPN. I'm a big fan of reading other newspapers takes, which is why I am a big fan of sitelines. Over the past year Insider has done an excellent job of improving its content. Even if I didn't work here I'd continue to subscribe to Insider.

5. D said on Nov 24 2004:

I was at fatmixx.com and saw the request for informal information... I use Insider... like most of the features...

dumb question? Is there any way to hype-link articles in the favorite teams section on Insider, so that you don't need a password. For example: The Hartford paper when writing articles about Yankees, Giants, etc... I click on the espn insider link and then the newspaper wants me to fill in a password and give information....yada, yada, yada... some of the other sites (news, info, sports) I visit have a hyper-link to get me through a backdoor....a temp reg... whatever.... into the article.

I don't want to have seven million log ins... the more you have... the more consumer information(ie: spam information there is) about you and it increases the amount of spam one gets in email....

I am from New York, I live in Boston. So ESPN Insider allows me to link to Articles about specific teams without having to go into five or six different newpaper sites and look. BUT, if the paper has a password... I bypass some of the papers to cut down on SPAM.

It may or may not be pheasible... just a thought.

6. dave said on Nov 24 2004:

I'd think one would have to be a seriously hardcore sportsfan to pay for internet content.

I consider myself a pretty avid fan, but everything I want to see on the web (basically scores, stats, schedules, rankings) is available for free in multiple places, so I see no reason to pay for it. As for all the extra stuff in Insider: I'd read some of it if it was free and I had some spare time, but I just don't want it bad enough to pay for it, and there's probably nothing they could do that would change that. So I guess I'm just not your target audience.

7. Henry said on Nov 25 2004:

I'm a rabid sports fan. The first thing I do in the morning is turn on ESPNews on my DirecTV.... But why would I want to pay for information I can get 95% of for free somewhere else?

8. Josh Crockett said on Nov 25 2004:

It really seems to me that ESPN has developed its Insider side at the expense of the free side -- more insider links on the front page, and often times simply taking away previously-free content.

The last straw for me was finding that the Sports Guy archives had been locked away. After that, I swore I'd never pay for ESPN.com content -- and I spend about $50/year on sports website subscriptions. I'd rather reward people who offer me value-added content, instead of "the boys upstairs [who] want to see / how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free."

9. JC said on Nov 25 2004:

A web-savvy, die-hard sports fan knows where to find sports content on the web. So, as George Costanza put it about prostitution, "Why pay for something, when, if I apply myself, I can get it for free." I do miss out on Neyer and a few other things I would like to see on Insider, but they are not worth $40 a year to me. There are too many subsitutes out there giving it away.

10. Ted said on Nov 25 2004:

Echoing the above sentiments - Too much available for free, and a deep-seated disinterest in paying for content that formerly was readily available. What ever happened to providing a service for your customers? It's not like ESPN is underconsumed by any other measure.

11. Graham said on Nov 25 2004:

I pretty much agree with the comments above (about finding enough free stuff on the web).

However, I do miss being able to read Neyer. His columns were entertaining/informative. However, even in this case I just visit other baseball sites (Hardball Times, Baseball Primer, team-specific blogs) and get my fill of baseball-related information.

12. BillSaysThis said on Nov 25 2004:

I would only pay if Insider offered a substantial amount of streaming video of soccer matches, like all the Champions League matches save one per game day, that I can't see on ESPN or FoxSportsWorld. One other possibility is if a group blog community were to develop such as we have at SportsFilter. Otherwise, as previous posters said, the free content is extremely competitive.

13. BillSaysThis said on Nov 25 2004:

I would only pay if Insider offered a substantial amount of streaming video of soccer matches, like all the Champions League matches save one per game day, that I can't see on ESPN or FoxSportsWorld. One other possibility is if a group blog community were to develop such as we have at SportsFilter. Otherwise, as previous posters said, the free content is extremely competitive.

14. Dusty said on Nov 25 2004:

I won't pay for sports info, period. There's always good info available on the web for free (that's sort of the idea of the web, no?). The more ESPN puts its articles and content behind lock and key, the more I'm looking at alternate sites like SI.com, foxsports.com, or the multitude of great sports blogs.

15. Sean Smith said on Nov 26 2004:

Kareem, contact me or put me in touch with the ESPN Canada guy....I've got some ideas for you.

16. Todd Muchmore said on Nov 26 2004:

I agree with most of the above comments. I'm an espn.com reader, but I have not and will not pay for the insider content. There are simply too many other sources of free content.

17. Mike said on Nov 28 2004:

There is one simple reason why I haven't subscribed to Insider. Most of the information that I would get from reading insider I used to get for free. The reason why I ultimately chose EPSN over CNNSI and TSN was becuase of the reliability of quality content on the site. By being an early boarder on the internet bandwagon I systematically became an Insider. I located information that few were able to obtain, and much earlier than most people (i.e. the people one would typical engage in a sports related conversation) were able to obtain it.

Undoubtedly, as time has progressed, the web site has become less of a branding tool and more of a revenue machine. Thus, I supose in commercial protest, I won't subscribe in order to access content I used to get for free.

Trust me, I've thought about it on many occasions. But with the advent of Blogs and with continuing evolution of the internet its just not practical.

18. Martin said on Nov 28 2004:

I saw this request on SpoFi. I used to read Neyer religiously, and then when his column got taken behind the curtain I just spent more time at Baseball Primer and Hardball Times and all the other great baseball blogs out there. Now I hardly ever visit the mlb page at espn.com unless a particular column or story is linked. Like others have said, why pay when you can get similar takes for free elsewhere? But beyond that, even if the Insider content was superior and worth the money, I still might not pay for it.....because I resent that it was taken away in the first place.

Slightly off topic, I don't have the same feelings towards the fantasy leagues that have always been pay for play. But when they made the baseball Diamond Daily a pay game after it being free for a year, that kinda pissed me off. I'm not just a cheapskate, either....I've played in pay leagues at cbs sportline and sandbox. I just don't like the "we'll get you hooked with a free taste and then charge after that" strategy.

19. Noah Brier said on Nov 28 2004:

I've posted some of my comments (and a link) on my site at: http://www.noahbrier.com/archives/2004/11/if_you_read_esp.html. Hope they're helpful.

20. Steve Queens said on Nov 28 2004:

One non-Insider-related comment that needs to be made: ESPN.com needs to reexamine its balance of content on each page versus the reliability and speed of its web site. Recently, ESPN has so much "stuff" on each page that they often load slowly or even crash browsers. I have recently gotten so frustrated with this that I check sports scores on the league web pages or on Cnnsi.com. I imagine that's something that you want to avoid. So simplify!!

Note: this is not a user/personal computer program as I have this problem at work and home (both are new systems) and friends of mine have described similar problems.

21. Aaron said on Nov 28 2004:

I am not an Insider subscriber. I do know some of the content on which I am missing out of, but I also do not feel that the pay-to-view option is what ESPN is supposed to be all about. My personal opinion is that if ESPN is the "Worldwide Leader in Sports," where most of us go everyday for sports news, then they should not charge us to get a few more columnists' opinions. Maybe it's worth the money, maybe it isn't. Call me a purist, but I want ESPN to be the bigger man and hang it all out there for free.

22. Luis Villa said on Nov 28 2004:

In a nutshell, I don't need more physical spam. If I could pay for Insider without getting The Mag, I would, but I can't, so I won't.

23. Devin McCullen said on Nov 29 2004:

Basically, I get enough sports information around the web without Insider, so I don't really think I need it. I thought about it when Rob Neyer went into Insider, and the draft info would be good as well, but as long as you're going to stick me with the stupid magazine, there's no way I'm going for it.

24. Jason said on Nov 29 2004:

I'd like to see some sort of per article fee for the insider content. I'm just not that interested in most insider stuff. I really miss Rob Neyer, but not enought to pay a monthly rate, especially in the off season.

25. Ted said on Nov 29 2004:

Three reasons:

1. too much free stuff elsewhere, and I generally resent having to pay for web content.
2. one of my primary interests is women's sports, and there's virtually no Insider content.
3. I don't link to fee content on my blog (even if I subscribed, most of my readers wouldn't), so it doesn't do me much good.

26. Sam said on Nov 29 2004:

1) I still equate Insider with Fantasy info and predictions. This does not interest me.
2) Moving content/chat/archives in and out of Insider shows a certain ambivalence to the strategy.
3) The rise of high-quality sports blogs and stats sites decreases the importance of central sites like ESPN.

What would make me pay for Insider? High-quality, analytical articles on gambling lines. Well-explained football picks against the spread. More mini-sites of the calibur of Sports Guy World.

27. PJ said on Nov 29 2004:

I was an insider for a month or two when it first started. I am interested in a number of sports, but I mostly followed the hockey insider section on ESPN. While baseball and football had some interesting features, the hockey section was mostly links to local newspaper articles.

The Gamecast and Highlight reel features I think were added later. I know the Toronto Star and NY Newsday both link to a lot of information from Hockey Forecaster. That would be the kind of information I would pay a monthly fee for, but it would also be cool if there was a weekly free article or feature on a newsworthy topic that I could link to on my weblog.

If you had a photo thumbnail of the insider content, and a brief blurb about what is being covered that week, it would probably get me to subscribe again just to check it out.

28. Kevin Harder said on Nov 29 2004:

I am a current ESPN Insider subscriber. It's the only web content that I pay for now. I won't pay for content that I can get other sites for free, like many other people have said here. I originally signed up for it because last year (2003) one of the fantasy football leagues I am in decided to use ESPN's new leaguge manager service. I enjoyed ESPN's extensive FFB content and so paid to become an insider (which provided access to it). Of course the League Manager had major bugs thoughout the season and my league decided to switch back to Sportsline this year, but I still use ESPN's fantasy analysis along with other sites...

The FFB content was really the only reason why I paid for Insider, but I do enjoy two other benefits. The "My Insider" page where I can view content from many newspapers / sites about my teams is very nice. And I enjoy receiving ESPN the magazine. But those two benefits alone without the fantasy content wouldn't be enough to entice me into subscribing. I've found the non-fantasy NFL and NBA Insider content to be very lacking, and I don't think it's worth paying for at all.

After the NFL season ends I'll probably cancel my Insider subscription, at least until next fall, since I don't play any other fantasy sports besides football.

29. Jeff Maynes said on Nov 30 2004:

Why don't I subscribe?

Well, baseball is my primary sport of interest. Other than Rob Neyer, the Insider baseball writers are considered jokes in much of the baseball enthusiast community. They are inferior to great baseball blogs, and inferior to the great baseball pay websites. If I'm going to pay for baseball news, I'll choose a BaseballProspectus subscription over an Insider subscription every time due to the fact that they have better writers.

30. B said on Nov 30 2004:

I have Insider access but am not a big fan. Most of the writers are stiffs. The only info I get is regarding the NBA draft or MLB trades. All the "scoops" in the NBA are available on other sites for free, and the analysis guys like Rick Bucher and Marc Stein offer is juvenile at best.

Until espn hires writers who offer better analysis, more insightful commentary, less biased opinions and less gramatical errors, it's not worth it.

the best thing espn offers is bill simmons' columns and up to the minute scores.

31. Jorriss said on Nov 30 2004:

I'm an insider and a huge sports fan ("Nothing matters except this U!"). I really don't find the value for the price. Sure it's nice to get some the chats and articles but it's too hard to find most of the content. I call ESPN.com the anti-Google. There is just so much information it's way to easy to get lost (and I'm a web developer). Also, as an insider I have no idea what content I have access to. I would love some more direction on the site for us insiders.

32. Jason Metter said on Dec 1 2004:

I am an Insider but doubt I'll renew. I only really care about baseball and I rarely read anything on Insider that I can't find elsewhere for free, like trade rumors or injury reports on rotoworld.com. Some of the content is decent, other stuff seems like it will make it to the outsiders soon enough anyway -- that Insider just puts a premium on immediacy.

As a designer interested in user experience and branding, I think the name "Insider" and the use of the little "IN" icon are brilliant.

I'd love to see a summary of what you've learned and what you will focus on improving based on all the postings here.

33. David Schontzler said on Dec 1 2004:

I've never been compelled to pay for that which I can get free. Or, at least, get enough of it for free that I didn't see the need. I do have some friends that break down every year and subscribe for a short time so they can follow the NFL Draft, in which case a pay-per-event option could be quite nice.

34. Phil Scott said on Dec 1 2004:

I'm a big fan of the content of Insider...when I can find it. I searched for hours trying to find all of Bob Davies' Football 101 articles, which are available to Insiders. Where they are available, well, I have no idea. But the main reason I signed up was for watching PTI at work (uh, during breaks...yeah). But the thing insists on IE for some reason. In fact, it's one of two reasons IE even gets used by me.

One thing that I think would be great is more video highlights on Insider. Being able to check out web gems from the past month, or the top 10 plays of the day would be awesome. I know that Motion has some of these, but being able to call up some highlights that your buddy was talking about at the bar would really bring a lot to the table.

35. Chad Baker said on Dec 1 2004:

I spend enough time reading the free articles that I don't really have the desire or need to read anything else. Between ESPN.com and CBSSportsline.com, there's really not much more that I need to know. Every once in a while there's an article on the ESPN.com homepage marked for Insiders only that I would like to read, but not enough to start paying for a subscription.

36. Jason Grigsby said on Dec 1 2004:

I had an ESPN insider account for two years and decided to stop using it this year. I actually read the site authors before they joined ESPN so I've been following the site for quite some time.

The things that I've like are the articles that are pulled for the various teams in multiple sports. It helps me keep track of teams in other areas. I also like the the articles on trade rumors and analysis of what is happening in the league.

The reasons I chose to unsubscribe this year are many. First, the website has gotten better, but there is still a tendancy for the writing and html production values to not be to the caliber I expect of professional journalists, and in particular, a service that I am paying for. This has improved a lot over the years, but I'm fairly certain when ESPN Insider started there wasn't an editor proofreading articles before they were published.

I am a Mac user. I use Firefox. I hate paying for a service that uses pull down menus that don't work properly in a standards-based browser. For example, it is very difficult to hover over the menu and get to the bulletin boards.

The changes to the design a year or so ago have made it more difficult to find content. It is no longer clear when I go the NBA page which articles I have read previous. The site used to have a pretty straight forward date-based organization. Now, I can't really make heads or tails out of the organizational structure. It's been a few months since I unsubscribed so I can't remember exactly what the pages looked like, but I remember spending more time trying to figure out what was going on than on other site.

It would be great to bring on some writers who speak to the business or statistical analysis side of sports. I loved Moneyball even though I don't like baseball. Hoopsworld.com had a columnist for awhile who was looking at statistical analysis for NBA players in a Moneyball vein. That column was one of the best ones on the site.

Finally, I want an RSS feed. I want to be able to select the teams that I want to follow and get a custom feed with the news for those teams. I want to be able to be notified when there is a new Insider article on the NBA section so I know if it is worth my time to visit the site.

37. Web said on Dec 1 2004:

I am not an insider because there are plenty of placees on the internet to get sports news .. without having to pay for it.

38. Mike P. said on Dec 1 2004:

I subscribed to insider with an out-of-n-america address and at some point was forced to give a US address in order to proceed, even after selecting "not in the US" in the signup procedure.

Then, upon completion I was told that if I want to quit I have to phone a 1-888 number or some toll free equivalent to unsubscribe. These types of numbers are unaccessable to those of us in Europe.

If I can select that I am not in the US, indicate a European country, I shouldn't have to dodge either of those hurdles. The only reason I made it in was my persistence (and creativity ;-), and now if I want to unsubscribe, I have no idea what I will do!!

39. Ben said on Dec 1 2004:

MLB Rumor Central is my crack! I love it. Part of my daily routine is to load that page, then highlight all instances of "dodgers." Especially in the offseason (and near trade deadlines) I check the page three times a day. Anything that allows me to get my personalized news content hot off the press is great. How about insider rss feeds? Eric Karabell's fantasy articles are great too. And an espn toolbar for firefox. Great job on fflm! It's the best fantasy game ui yet!

40. Gaelan Murphy said on Dec 1 2004:

I'd echo many of the previous comments. I'm not very interested in paying for web sites and if I was going to pay, I'd subscribe to baseballprospectus before I'd subscribe to ESPN insider. I also resent the idea of paying for things I used to get for free. Recently I've been considering excising ESPN from my favourites folder because more and more content is pay only. If ESPN wants to profit from me they can do it by selling advertising. Pushing Insider by making the free stuff worse is only going to make me leave altogether.

41. Lee J. Cockrel said on Dec 4 2004:

Everything on the Insider page implies you'll get to Know Big Things Behind the Scenes! or Hear Informed Opinions from Talking Heads! The former reminds me or those 11:30 AM football gambling shows with their own 1-900 number, and no one cares about the Talking Heads.

Essentially, there are much better writers on many different topics I can read for free than the ones I would pay to read at Insider. Every media outlet suffers from this, not just ESPN. Bill Simmons is entertaining, but access to his stories is stupidly crippled. (You can read his current story but not the archives.)

Also, (this is VERY IMPORTANT) ESPN spams you. More politely, ESPN fails to respect my choices regarding email solicitation. Every email address I've used with them got mailed, regardless of what boxes I unchecked or unsubscribe requests I sent.

I put extended comments on my blog.

42. Curtis Hoovestol said on Dec 6 2004:

I think that ESPN should move the insider content OFF the "r.espn.go.com" address.

This site continually times out and will not connect with my Mac G5, and the latest Firefox.

Any tips or advice on how to get around this would be appreciated. Otherwise I am going to have to cancel my Insider account.

Thanks.

43. J.P. said on Dec 7 2004:

I am an ESPN insider member. I joined simply because more and more content was being folded into insider...and Chad Fords articles are off the chain. His articles alone are worth the price of admission if you are a die hard NBA fan like me.

Here is my one issue with insider. Im paying for it, you know I am logged in, stop with the ads. It should be more like Salon. If I pay, I get no ads. With the addition of Motion you guys are getting out of hand with the ads. Stop. Please.

44. mac said on Dec 9 2004:

I'm a poor college student who loves sports, anybody want to give me a username and password.

45. -Donnell- said on Dec 16 2004:

I have been an Insider subscriber for about three months now and while I do find majority of the NFL content informative, quick and accurate, Iím still perplex at the meager amount of exclusive ESPN news columns and write-ups. In example, Iím an avid Indianapolis Colts fan and after every Colts game, I search the net for game news, interviews, sport panelist comments, etc. Now on a many occasions, Iíve came across the exact same content, which is offer free by other Web sites, within the Insider section of the ESPN Web site, which makes little sense to pay forówhy pay for the exact same content if you can get it elsewhere for free? In addition to that gripe, the Insider, or what that matter, the ESPN Web site (as a whole) is not compatible with the Firefox Web browser nor does the toolbar function with my chosen browser. Thatís a big deal, especially when the content Iím paying to use is not compatible with my habits and manners of surfing the Web.

46. Derek said on Jan 15 2005:

I didn't read all the other posts, I don't know if I'm simply repeating what has already been said. I will never sign up for insider because I feel that information should be free. I like ESPN because I get high quality, and accurate information. I understand that ESPN is a business, but I also notice that there is a huge banner add at the top of the page which is viewed by millions every day. If ESPN is so greedy, that they are more interested in revenue over properly getting information to their customers I would rather read my sports news somewhere else. I subscripbe to ESPN, ESPNEWS, ESPN 2, ESPN Classic, and ESPN the magazine. I think it is a shame that a website that already makes plenty of money off of advertisements, won't allow their loyal customers access to the entire site. The internet has so much information on it, I will never pay you for something I can get elsewhere.

47. Chauncey said on May 4 2005:

Insider is just not worth it. The analysis is OK with some of the better writers, but certainly not enough to pay for. Who cares about a web log of articles. All you have to do is put your team name into Google News and you get the same thing. Just not worth it.

As for ESPN.com non-pay? There is way too much crap on the pages. Simplify that stuff for real. I don't even look at ESPN.com anymore because there is so much useless garbage scattered around. I used to post on the message board frequently, but those too are terrible after they changed them and I now have left ESPN altogether.

When I want to read sports news i DO NOT want to wait for stuff to load on a page when I am using a DSL connection. That is ridiculous. I want to click on the site and see what is going on immediately. ESPN is terrible in that regard. It doesn't matter how many times you turn the video OFF it always runs.

48. Jaycool said on May 24 2005:

For all the pro espn fiends out there,post a password and username for all us agnostics to consider a switch to the sports leader.

49. Frank said on Jun 16 2005:

I'm glad you are soliciting feedback since I've been trying to register my discontent with ESPN.COM ever since they put everything on the Insider page.
I don't expect I would ever subscribe since I don't really have room in the budget for information I can get in most other places. I liked most of your writers but used to turn to your site first everyday to check on what Neyer was saying. When he went inside I found Baseball Prospectus, Pro Sports Daily, Baseball Think Factory, and most importantly the Hardball Times.
The point isn't what it would take for me to pay but, to my mind, what you have lost by removing items from my daily access. The only reason I found this site was I was googling for recent Neyer info and this feedback site popped up.
Hope I've been helpful. Hope you guys remember what it was like to be the #1 sports information site and get back to it before you become a faint memory in my rear view mirror.

50. Jon said on Aug 22 2005:

Well to my mind there are reasons i will no subscribe to ESPN Insider.

1. Your stable of journalists really arn't that great. Neyer, Crasnick, and Gammons are above par and a joy to read, even when Gammons is suckling at the Red Soxs tit. But the rest (Olney, Stark, Kurkjian) aren't worth my money to read, esp. when these writers do little different from the writers on CNNSI, which i read for free.

2. I pay for cable already. If i turn on ESPN or ESPN news i already pay to hear the views of many of these writers. Gammons, Olney, Phillips, and Kurkjian are on ESPN News or sportscenter, or Baseball Tonight many times a week. I can hear Joe Morgan's thoughts on almost any subject on Sunday Night Baseball. This is my main complaint. Much of what i get as an Insider, I already pay to get over cable tv.

3. I don't care if i read Andy Katz. I only ever read the baseball stuff. I don't want to pay for people i am not reading.

If ESPN wants me to pony up for Insider, then they need to be giving me more than what I already get if I turn on ESPN. By this i mean, Crasnick and Neyer are good writiers and I don't really get to hear there views on tv. Supplament those two with 5 more who's ideas are unique and articles are more than glorified game summaries and i would pay because i would be getting something unique. As it stands now, I get through insider alot of what i already pay for, and therefore i am not gonna join.

Please feel free to reply to what i have said, because i would love to hear your take on my critizisms.

51. sammy said on Aug 25 2005:

ESPN's decline began when it started to get so full of itself it stopped being funny (see such shows as "50 Greatest Moments of the ESPN era," or whatever it was called), and now it's sending more and more columnists into the ESPN Ghetto, Insider? And charging admission at the door? If you can't support your media empire selling push-up bras and Coca-cola spots like everyone else, don't come asking me for $40 a year. All it does is make me want to turn your station off and go back to the sports page. Visit salon. See how they do things. That's a class act. You guys are just looking for a money-grab.

52. Brad said on Sep 26 2005:

I have no problem paying for something that adds value. Your insider package just annoys me. Your pages have way more insider content then anything else. Have an insider section that doesn't flaunt it all over the place. I don't know how many times I have looked at reading an article only to be disappointed that I couldn't read it. Sure I could pay for it, all I am saying is put the free stuff one place and the not free stuff somewhere else.

The other thing is that I have read some of your Insider content before... it isn't worth paying for over and above anything else you can find for free. The exception to this is some of your fantasy stuff, but the articles... come on!

53. Why? said on Oct 19 2005:

It is aggrevating and I often find myself not chosing espn for online NFL sports information. Every single article practically requires that I join "Insider". Sheesh. How is it that so many other outlets allow free viewing of articles? foxsports, nfl.com, si, local news outlets, etc. And, if I ever go to espn, I get lured into false hopes of reading an interesting article only to find it is a trap soliciting money and credit card commitment. Your company doesn't even offer it for free. Maybe if you got somebody hooked on it, they would want to pay the next season. Then again, maybe not.

54. Scott said on Nov 11 2005:

I do consume MASS amounts of sports content, including (less and less as content is gradually locked) ESPN.com. But if the choice comes down to paying to read about sports, or not reading about sports, I won't read about sports. There's a line there lots of us won't cross. I'm not going to take something I'm really not that proud of spending time on in the first place, and make it an actual LARGE part of my budget.

More importantly, re: the Insider strategy - nobody likes being suddenly asked without notice to PAY for what they got used to getting for free. Human nature, sorry. I understand you're trying to turn up the heat on me to pay by gradually locking content, but I feel like the proverbial boiling frog. Don't ruin the warm associations the ESPN brand has had - allow us to make informed, adult decisions without teasing us. It causes (great!) resentment. I will refrain from ranting more.

55. kyle said on Nov 11 2005:

Its just ESPN being money hungry. Why should you have to pay for information on your favorite team? We do that with cable bills and internet bills already why add more money so we can read something else that we are already paying for?

56. David said on Nov 17 2005:

1 - they have turned into $ grubbing bastards.

2 - all of these articles used to be free, and more and more are being made 'insider only'.

3 - ESPN wants to hire these writers to help set them apart as the de facto #1, but want me to pay their salaries? FU(K OFF!

57. Doug said on Nov 22 2005:

ESPN simply needs to embrace Firefox and the like with their toolbar & Motion products...they take from Open Source, they just won't give back to it.

58. Alex said on Dec 11 2005:

My insider just ran out and I haven't decided whether or not to renew it yet.

Since losing my credentials, I find the whole site pretty annoying. Half of the links are "IN".

I think protecting all of their "personalities" content to be a mistake. There should be more dynamic content instead of paying for articles.

$39.95 is simply too high a price point to read Buster Olney's blog.

59. David said on Dec 12 2005:

It is too much money for a media conglomerate that already gets far too much of my attention. I have ESPN on in my house at least 30 hours per week during baseball season and 15 or so in the offseason. No other serious media outlet charges for their content.

In fact, whenever I do think about ESPN charging for content, I tend to switch to Fox for a couple of days.

And, I hardly ever even go to espn.com anymore. why bother - everything is behind the Outsider wall. And the free stuff is all available at si.com - whose model is much more palatable (i.e., only a small fraction of their writers are pay only).

60. Marc said on Dec 21 2005:

I get ESPN the magazine. I went and tried to sign up for insider because it said I get it for free. Then it asks for my credit card info? What?!
Hell no!
Looks like they have a crappy IT deal going if they can't hook their insider database up to their magazine subsciption database.

61. wayne said on Dec 25 2005:

ESPN.com has made just about everything insider only. The articles I used to be able to read for free are now insider.

I just go somewhere else.

Why charge money when there are 50 billion popups/windowblocking ads? ESPN gets paid for those ads unless they are putting them up as a charity service which we all know isn't the case.

62. Naveed said on Jan 2 2006:

The only thing that I used to read on ESPN was Gammons. I'm willing to pay to read him, but not $40. I would consider offering access to specific columnists for lower prices.

63. Craig said on Jan 8 2006:

Not a member. The only thing I really am intrested in that I can't get to NOW, is Peter Gammons basball commentary. I dont think I shoud have to pay for all of commentary. It seems the site has been shifting more and more content to the inside, and is causing me to use the site less frequently. It seems to me that in this day and age of information, service continues it's downward spiral, and it really is all about the mighty dollar. It also seems to me that you would get enough money from all your advertising that the site throws in our faces with popups that are now built into your site causing us to have click out of them.

64. Aaron said on Mar 21 2006:

info should be free...radio, TV and INTERNET

I'm not paying you for info that is usually slanted to certain teams
and more often than not, just heresay, opinion and ignorance

65. Mike said on Apr 9 2006:

Well, I am not an Insider. I am 16 years old an I don't have any way to give you the yearly membership fees. Most of the stuff on your site is "For INSIDERS only" which I think is a load of crap. I am not going to pay you for information that you SHOULD be providing for FREE. Because most of your stuff is only for insiders, it has reduced the number of times I visit your website. I wanted to see a mock draft but your website is too into making $$$, that it makes me like ESPN less as a company...I think that whoever came up with the whole ESPN INSIDER idea should be BEAT DOWN by all sport fans. SO if you are connected with him or you know him...tell him that I wanna see him on the street and if/when I do, I'll make sure that I am the only one that walks away.

66. Mike said on Apr 9 2006:

Whoever came up with the idea for ESPN INSIDER should go FU(K themselves.

PS- If you are an insider post your username and password on the internet so the rest of us can use it...PLEASE!

if you don't your a bigger AS*HOLE than those ESPN motherFU*KERS

so post it WH*RE

67. mish said on Apr 21 2006:

As stated multiple times above: there is WAY too much free info out there to pay for insider. The only exception I can think of is finding good articles on h.s. recruits - everybody seems to want you to pay for this info. This one area is not enough to justify a subscription to insider - also I may be wrong but feel that rivals and other sites have more "insider" info on recruiting anyways.

68. Mets Stink said on Apr 25 2006:

Web content should be free. I'm not going to pay for something that I can watch TV and get for free. At that price, it should give you tomorrow's lottery numbers.

69. skinnygmg said on May 24 2006:

i don't pay for any info online, and i never will. all info online should be free. others who run similar (sports) sites think so. hey here's somthing you might like to try... take all the money in your pocket, and through it at someone who thinks you're stupid. same thing.

70. VileKyle said on Jun 1 2006:

Fuck a lot of the Insider. It's not enough for me to wade through your ads and teases, you want cash money too? Fuck that, I'll find the hockey stories I want elsewhere.

71. John Melillo said on Jun 9 2006:

I wouldn't pay for anyones sports opinions. I find it hard to believe people pay for that stuff. You can get any info/stats free on the internet.
Gammons is the only person connected enough to have insider info. He's on ESPN radio, BBTN and everywhere else for free so why pay Insider?
The purpose of the internet was the exchange of data and info..... FREE.
Now sites want money for opinions, columns? Forget it.

72. roger said on Jul 6 2006:

Sad way to sell your magazine. You can read virtually all the NY Times, Washington post on the web. why can't ESPN/diney find a profitable way to market their web without requiring a subscription with a free copy of the magazine.

73. jimH said on Jul 30 2006:

I pretty much stopped going to ESPN.com because of Insider.

There is way too much quality sports news (FREE!) on the web to pay for it.

Now it seems like every link I click on on the front page, or the MLB page just takes me to a teaser page that shows me a paragraph and then an insider link.

IT'S MADDENING!

I have a half dozen other sports news site to fill my appetite. I've taken ESPN off of my 'Favorites'.

74. MIcheal said on Aug 24 2006:

I love espn.com. However, Insider is a collection of too much crap for a bundled price. I simply want to read the online articles online for a small price. You give me 2 years of online insider articles only for basically a dollar a month, I will pay it. I travel, a paper magazine does not fit my lifestyle, and I don't play fantasy nor am I so fanatical about sports to want recruiting info or scores to my phone. I have a life outside of sports. Simplify, I know it is better for ESPN to have high magazine subscription rates et al, but I will never join unless I can join al'a carte.

75. jackson said on Sep 1 2006:

Why would I pay for insider when I can read so many other sports articles for free in other locations? Dont you guys have enough money? Also, I am not impressed with the writing in ESPN the mag as compared to SI, so why would the online articles be any differnt?

76. David said on Sep 6 2006:

ESPN is going in the wrong direction with this insider crap. Just as Nascar did with it's website making people pay for what used to be free material. As the days go by, what used to be free on espn.com is now insider material. ESPN is trying to steal your hard earned money buy making you feel you are missing valuable info on their site. There are plenty of other websites you can surf that provide similar or better info for free. Come on people, wake up and stop giving your hard earned money to the billionares at disney.

77. Chris said on Sep 7 2006:

I have been a loyal ESPN.com reader for years now. I especially enjoy reading Bill Simmons and the Tuesday Morning Quarterback, but I spend an average of about an hour a day on ESPN.com throughout the year. That being said, ESPN is making me more and more annoyed over time. The pop-up ads are extremely annoying. Another annoying trend is the increasing push to put more and more material on ESPNinsider. I will not pay money for info I can get elsewhere. It is as simple as that. Furthermore, it is annoying to me that ESPN.com is trying to squeeze me like that. ESPN.com used to be a good site for sports info, now the Disney masters are clearly squeezing it for every penny it can get out of readers. As my annoyance grows, I've found myself going to other websites more and more over time. ESPN.com can try to act like a monopoly if it wants, but clearly it is not a monopoly online. ESPN, you are pushing away a formerly loyal and happy reader.

78. Ross said on Sep 11 2006:

Why would I want to spend money to read a blog? That's basically what Insider is, its just a bunch of opinion pieces. If I wanted opinions I would read a message board (which is also a piece of shit on ESPN).

79. Mike said on Sep 20 2006:

I don't even like to use ESPN.com anymore because of Insider. It really ticks me off that they have the nerve to charge for content on a sports website - ESPECIALLY since I already pay an outrageous cable bill, part of which goes into ESPN/ABC's pockets.

80. Brad said on Oct 19 2006:

Kareem,

There is only one reason I would consider being an Insider, to download Cowherd and Patrick podcasts. I am NOT interested in the magazine, nor most of the other content on the site. It is unfortunate that ESPN has not made access to the podcasts cheaper and easier. My troubles are compounded by being a Canadian resident. As expensive as ESPN The Magazine is in the US, it is considerably more so due to cross-border shipping costs. Why doesn't this option exist? Why is an electronic medium so centered around a print magazine?

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82. Aaron said on Mar 14 2007:

I am a 20 year old full-time college student who is barely getting by financially. I would love to have a subscription to ESPN insider. I am on their site daily looking to see who has been picked through free agency and am interested in the mock draft and player ratings but unfortuantely I don't have any money to spend on this.

About

Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer

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